Monday, November 7, 2016

Things I loved about Canada (and the Canadians)

In my too-short-a-visit to Canada, a few things stood out more than the others and endeared me in a way I never thought the country would. But there you have it. It was never really on my bucket list of places I must visit (at least not in the top 10), but like so many unexpected joys that one often experiences when visiting a new place, I did too when i was in Canada.

What worked for me, i think, is also the absence of winter. I'm always the first one to feel the cold but since i was there in October - when the colours are still changing and winter has not arrived - I could enjoy the sights. There aren't too many sounds in Canada. It's a quite country, specially if you're coming from India.

Do keep in mind though that my perspective mirrors only the two cities of Canada that i visited and they're not the biggest ones there: Ottawa and Montreal

The changing colours during Fall
It's pretty as hell, the fall season. The blasts of colours that you see can mesmerise you - like an HD TV ad. And the maple leaves sure are easy on the eyes. 

The people
In general, they are very friendly and charming with their self-deprecating humour. Canadians are also super helpful, very polite and will take their time to greet you and even reply to your "How are you?" with enthusiasm. Its refreshing (and a little getting used to) after a dull "What's up?"

Sunny days
Yep, after days of low temperatures and drizzles, the occasional sun really brightens up your day (no pun intended). 

Boots and layers
The only things that can make Canada's cold bearable is being able to wear layers and stylish boots! Having lived in Bombay all my life, the words 'layered clothing' is restricted to the undergarment and a top. A stole is pushing it. And boots are those ugly things some people wear during the rains here. Shopping tip: If you need winter clothing, its best to buy it from Canada. Here, you will find loads of variety, styles and cuts. And who would know winter better than Canada!

Empty roads and footpaths
This is a no-brainer, really. Don't we love it when there are no people bumping into you, even when you're standing still on the side? Ottawa, Canada's capital, is smaller (and more quaint) than the other cities like Vancouver or Toronto and even Montreal. So there's hardly any traffic or people on the streets. But even the other cities have spacious streets when compared with Indian roads.

Their healthy lifestyle
Canadians will do anything to get their trainers on. Even on a "warm" day when i needed two layers instead of three, i saw many people in shorts running/cycling. Many cycle to work. In Ottawa when the Rideau Canal freezes over, they skate to work and when it unfreezes, many try to paddle to their offices. Also, unlike their American cousins, they prefer walking everywhere.

Their love for the environment
Canadians are very conscious about their environment and have very high levels of civic sense. So much so that smoking is by and large discouraged. In fact, in Ottawa it is positively looked down upon. Many public places like the bus stops will have warning signs for smokers disallowing them from smoking in the vicinity.

Their love and respect for their country
Canadians are very proud of their country and are not shy about it. You can see "Canada" with the maple leaf everywhere you go. 


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